Call for applications

The application period for 2019-2020 is November 2 – December 10, 2018 for the programme starting is August 2019. 

Please read the Call for applications carefully before filling in the application form (on the right side of the page; “Fill in application”.

The International Doctoral Programme in Epidemiology and Public Health (IPPE), Health Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, Finland, is a doctoral training program for highly qualified epidemiologists, researchers and public health personnel worldwide who are aiming at a PhD degree in epidemiology or related public health sciences.

The Health Sciences group is one of the leading research institutions with international recognition at Tampere University. Degree programmes include bachelor, master and doctoral levels, and have a strong emphasis on research methods training. Doctoral Programme faculty are involved in several international collaborative research projects. Teaching and research in Health Sciences are multidisciplinary and include the fields of biostatistics, epidemiology, community health, gerontology,health economics, nursing science, occupational health, social psychiatry, global health and social and health policy.

Programme goals
The main objectives of the IPPE Programme are to increase knowledge and understanding of major public health problems, particularly in low and middle income countries, and to build sustainable public health capacity in these countries by working with global partners in training epidemiologists and public health personnel for leadership positions in research, administration, program planning and policy development.

Programme content
The IPPE Programme consists of intensive theoretical and practical training in epidemiology and biostatistics, courses in other public health sciences, weekly research seminars and individual supervision. Although the core epidemiology and biostatistics curriculum content is required for everyone, the students are given considerable latitude in selecting optional courses and the program may be tailored to meet individual learning and professional goals. Please see previous course descriptions.

The selected PhD candidates will spend the 2019-2020 academic year (August-May) in Tampere to complete the required coursework curriculum. During the academic year in Finland, the PhD candidates also prepare a comprehensive research plan for their PhD thesis. The bulk of field research, data analysis and reporting, however, is generally conducted after completion of coursework. The candidates have the option of working on their PhD project in Finland or abroad. Completion of a doctoral degree usually requires 3-4 additional years of research work. The doctoral dissertation requires three to four original scientific papers published in international, peer-reviewed journals and a thesis synthesizing the research findings. After successful public examination and defense of the dissertation, a doctoral degree (PhD) in epidemiology or related public health discipline is awarded.

Major fields of study and research
Methods in epidemiology and biostatistics
Infectious disease epidemiology and vaccine programs in public health practice
Epidemiology and prevention of cancer
Non-communicable diseases, nutritional epidemiology
Research on health promotion of children and adolescents
Occupational epidemiology, epidemiology of ageing

Selection criteria
Doctoral students are selected on the basis of their merits in past education and work experience in public health, their language skills and scientific writing ability, as well as demonstrated success in the field of public health practice and epidemiology. Strong applicants already work in a research project which can be used as material for PhD thesis, or have an available dataset and a feasible research plan.

Applicants should submit a preliminary research plan as part of their application. Research plans are evaluated for:

  • Public health relevance/significance of the topic
  • Background and rationale for the study
  • Appropriateness of methods (in relation to study objectives)
  • Feasibility of implementation (study materials and subjects, methods, timeline, available infrastructure, collaborators)
  • Overall quality and clarity of the research plan (appropriate theoretical background, concepts, structure, style)

A PhD degree requires 240 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credit points. The IPPE coursework accounts for 60 ECTS and the dissertation for 180 ECTS.

A master’s degree (at least 4 years of study) in a relevant field, including epidemiology, public health or biostatistics, or a medical degree from an accredited university. Basic knowledge of epidemiology and proof of proficiency in English are required. More details: Language requirements.

Duration of studies
The duration of the coursework curriculum is one academic year (August 2019 to May 2020). Full time participation in the program requires 10 month residency in Tampere, Finland. Obtaining the doctoral degree usually requires 3-4 additional years after completion of the coursework.


Tuition, accommodation, living and travel cost
Currently, no tuition or course fees are charged for doctoral students accepted in the IPPE Programme

Students should be able to cover their travel, accommodation and living costs in Finland. They are encouraged to apply external support for this purpose. If the student doesn’t have any funding, grants etc. during their stay in Finland, the student must have at least EUR 1 000 at his/ her disposal every month to be able to pay for the accommodation, food and other needs. In other words, he/ she must have
EUR 12 000 to be able to study in Finland for a year.

Research funding and financial aid opportunities for doctoral students are available from several external funding sources on a competitive basis. The programme staff will assist in the application process. However, acceptance to the programme does not guarantee financial aid.

Students accepted to IPPE Programme with research projects related to cancer epidemiology may apply for a stipend from the Finnish Cancer Society on a competitive basis.

Application period for the Academic year 2019 – 2020 is from November 2, 2018 to December 10, 2018.

Applicants who qualify for the second stage of the selection process will be invited to video interviews which are held from February 7 to 18, 2019.

Application information and form
Please submit all your application documents through the online application system (link will be activated on November 2, 2018 at 8.00 am), by 15.00 (CMT +2) on December 10, 2018, and submit ALL the following attachments with your application.

1. Curriculum vitae (max. 5 pages)

– Please use the Europass format in English

– the list of publications should be organized as follows: international peerreviewed publications, other publications

– include a list of completed epidemiology courses (level, number credits)

2. Motivation letter (max. 1 page)

The motivation letter describes your personal goals for PhD studies It should address the following:

– Why do you want to pursue doctoral studies in the IPPE Programme?

– How will PhD studies complement your previous education and professional experience?

– What new skills and opportunities are you looking for in the IPPE Programme?

– How do you plan to use the experience gained in IPPE training after completing the PhD degree? What are your future career goals?

3. Research plan (Please see detailed guidelines, max. 6 pages excluding summary and including references )

4. Photocopies of university level degree certificate(s) and official transcript(s) of records certified by a notary public (as a single pdf-file)

5. Certificate of proficiency in English for academic purposes. For this requirement, no exceptions will be granted.

There are two ways of indicating your English language proficiency;

  • Previous studies
    • A Master’s degree in English in a university in an EU/ EEA country, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United´Kingdom or the United States. Note! Even if you have a Master’s degree in English from other country than listed above, you will have to provide a language test.
  • Language test
    • TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language; 90/Internetbased, 575/paper-based (NB: scores from “TOEFL ITP / institutional testing programme” are not accepted).
    • IELTS (Academic), International English Language Testing System; 6.5 with no individual score below 5.5
    • PTE (Academic), Pearson’s Test of Academic English; 62

· Please note that the language test score must be valid throughout the application period and cannot be more than 2 years old.

6. Copy of your passport

Applications must adhere the above guidelines.
Additional documents are not considered.
Letters of recommendation only on request by the IPPE programme.

Contact information
Secretary of doctoral programmes Ms. Tiina Kangasluoma

Programme e-mail

Visit IPPE on the web

Programme Director Pekka Nuorti MD, PhD, Professor of epidemiology